The electric city bus Citaro from Mercedes-Benz celebrated its world premiere in July 2018. A dedicated project team has worked for years to bring the all-electric city bus onto the road and into series production - a fascinating and exciting task. In addition to commitment and enthusiasm, the development of vehicles with electric drive systems also requires specialist knowledge and know-how in the field of electric mobility. In order to recruit and qualify junior staff in the best possible way, EvoBus GmbH cooperates with the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW) at the Mannheim location, where students in the mechatronics course specializing in electromobility are trained.
One of these students who is completing this "Study with Future" is Johannes Hüther.
Johannes Hüther: "Being part when it comes to putting the electric bus on the road"
Profile Johannes Hüther:
What could you not do without in your life?
What do you enjoy most about your studies?
"The variety by working in different departments“
What inspires you?
"I am inspired by almost every new technology that makes my daily life easier“
Johannes Hüther has a weakness for technology. Whether electrical installations, controlling lights or repairing the computer or car – he prefers to do it all himself. As a dual student of mechatronics specializing in electric mobility, he is exactly in the right place at EvoBus. In the meanwhile, he is about to graduate and tells us what makes the course of studies special.
Studies in a family environment
Johannes Hüther is already an old hand in the satellite location of the Cooperative University Mannheim in Eppelheim: All fellow students know him and his professors appreciate him. "There are only ten of us left by now in our course of studies," he notes. On his way from the dining hall to the lecture, he briefly stops at the table football, which offers relaxation on long days at the university. I am still enthusiastic, even in my third and last year. It is quite possible that sometimes I am at the university from 8 am to 7 pm.“
Is the effort worth it? "Definitely", answers Johannes. "After the current theory phase, I get the opportunity to get to know another plant of the Daimler Group apart from Mannheim, my actual job site at EvoBus GmbH. I will work in Sindelfingen in the unit of "Future Studies and Vehicle Concepts". Many of my fellow students also go abroad. This is followed by the bachelor thesis, which prepares students for the start of their careers.“
But how did Johannes end up at the bus manufacturer anyway? "I wanted to join an automobile manufacturer near my home town, which made EvoBus/Daimler a logical choice.“ The fact that he ultimately landed in the division of buses also has to do with specializing in electric mobility. "The city bus is predestined for electric mobility, for example, because the frequent stops allow recovering a lot of energy during braking.“ He has not regretted his decision in favor of EvoBus yet. "There is a family atmosphere in most departments – you feel comfortable. I was welcomed from the very beginning and I also know my colleagues privately. In addition, we are building a product here that will be driving on the road like this. In the end you can see what you did.“
Theory and practice dovetailed to perfection
After playing table football, his head is spinning again attending the lecture. Today the topic is magnetic fields, which are used to hold workpieces magnetically, for example. The students' task is then to calculate the most efficient magnetic fields. "The topic is horrid at times, but very useful in the application”, explains Prof. Dr. Oliver Hörer, professor of electrical engineering (and much more) at the cooperative university. Meanwhile, Johannes is sitting in the first row and participates in a group discussions. Not an exception, as Prof. Dr. Sven Schmitz, director of the electric mobility course of studies, explains: "The guys from EvoBus are always up front.“
After the lecture, Johannes shows off one of his favorite projects: As part of a feasibility study, he and three fellow students tested whether they could convert an old Mercedes-Benz SL to a Tesla powertrain. "To do something like this, you stay until late here and remove the axle from such a classic car," says Johannes. A great contrast to the theoretical material in the lectures.
Johannes also got all his money's worth in the practical phases at EvoBus. "I was in the high-voltage systems team in my fourth practical phase, which deals with the high-voltage components in the electric city bus, the eCitaro. Among other things, I was responsible for modeling the CAN communication. My job was to design a user interface that clearly presents all the internal information during the test drives of the bus. That was very interesting and it is also an area that I can easily see as a place to work later.“
Hobby becomes occupation
The electric mobility course of studies is definitely a great fit for anyone interested in technology, says Johannes. And because the course of studies is so diverse – in addition to classic mechanical engineering, there are also parts from electrical engineering, information technology and business management – everyone can find their individual field of interest.
Johannes had known for a long time that he wanted to work with electronics and software. Even before his studies, he and a friend provided lighting technology for events such as weddings and farewell parties. At the age of 16, Johannes already registered his own business in the form of an event technology rental service. While his buddy handled the sound system, Johannes set up the lighting equipment and programmed sophisticated light shows. This allowed him to indulge his interest in technology and get to know the business side at the same time.
By now, he has given up this hobby for lack of time, but has found his destiny in his course of studies instead. And that’s for now: being part when Daimler Buses puts the first electric bus in series production on the road.